M.F.A., Creative Writing, St. Mary's College of California
B.A., Russian/International Relations and English, Bucknell University
Karen Vanuska began her working career as an Intelligence Analyst for the National Security Agency where she used her knowledge of the Russian language and the Soviet military to keep our country safe during the Cold War. She received a commendation for her support as an Intelligence Watch Officer during Operation Desert Storm.
After leaving the government, she obtained my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and published short pieces of fiction and non-fiction in literary journals such as The Battered Suitcase. Her love of Russian and Eastern European literature made her a popular book reviewer for two online literary journals as newly translated versions of classics became available with the collapse of communism and the opening of communist literary archives. Her blurbs have been used to sell books and have made her a featured reviewer for the National Book Critics Circle.
She also worked as a freelance journalist for a local parenting journal; she wrote articles from topics ranging from local berry picking to resources for dealing with childhood trauma. In 2009, she decided to take her love of literature and writing into the high school classroom to share with students. Her experience as a working writer makes her sympathetic to my students’ efforts as they struggle to find their writing voices and establish their academic identities. Ms. Vanuska has not completely abandoned her love of the world of publications because she is Mercy's yearbook moderator.
Outside of school, she loves walks on the coastal trail in Half Moon Bay with her family, reading, knitting, and bread-baking.